Table of Contents
Péron, J.-Y. 1990. Tuberous-rooted chervil: A new root vegetable for
temperate climates. p. 422-423. In: J. Janick and J.E. Simon (eds.), Advances
in new crops. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Tuberous-rooted Chervil: A New Root Vegetable for Temperate Climates*
- FOOD VALUE AND USE
- Table 1
- Fig. 1
- Fig. 2
Tuberous-rooted chervil (Chaerophyllum bulbosum L.) belongs to the
Apiaceae, a family in which food plants are of special interest because of
their high level of fiber and aromatic substances (Péron, 1989). Since
its introduction in France in 1846, C. bulbosum has not undergone any
substantial development with cultivation until 1985, and is now produced in
three or four market gardens.
Tuberous-rooted chervil a wild biennial native to Eastern Europe, is found
within Eastern France (Bois, 1927). The tuberous root is edible and is similar
to carrot (Davanture type). Leaves resemble those of carrots but the rosette
is limited to 3-5 flattened leaves. The seeds (300-350 per gram) are light or
dark brown, 3-6 mm long and 1-1.5 mm wide.
The root is edible only at the end of fall when root reserves have under gone a
biochemical change favored by cold temperature (Table 1). The nutritional
composition of the plant has been analyzed by Imbault et al. (1985). The
edible root has a high level of dry matter (about 40% of fresh weight);
carbohydrates makeup 45% of dry matter consisting of sucrose (25%); starch
(14%) and reducing sugars (1.0%).
Because of its biochemical composition and of its specific chestnut-like
flavor, tuberous-rooted chervil is considered as a "gourmet" vegetable.
Tuberous-rooted chervil has to be boiled about 10-12 minutes and, after
peeling, could be served with fish or meat either as a whole root or pureed.
Tuberous-rooted chervil is sown in November or in February after stratification
and is harvested in July. The average yield is 10 metric tons per hectare in
market gardens using a traditional cultivar.
Seeds do not germinate under normal conditions because of embryo dormancy
(Augé et al. 1989). Dormancy can be removed by subjecting the seed to
humid and cold temperatures, e.g. 4°C during 10 weeks (Fig. 1). Thus, seeds
are sown at the beginning of winter.
Root storage at low temperature (6-8°C) increases the speed of starch
conversion in the root and offer increased protection from fungus infection.
Genetic variability has been studied for 6 years and a breeding program is
underway to improve root morphology and to increase yield (Fig. 2). Wild
plants have been collected and are under evaluation. Homogeneous selfed (S2
and S3) lines have been obtained and hybrids between several lines are being
developed (Péron 1989).
Commercial development of tuberous-rooted chervil was undertaken in 1987 in the
North of France, especially in the Loire Valley where sandy soils are favorable
for its cultivation. A new cultivar 'Altan', obtained by mass selection, has
been commercialized by the seed company, Royal Sluis-France. Studies carried
out over the last four years, indicate that tuberous-rooted chervil should be
cultivated similar to early carrot and probably in plastic tunnels.
- Augé, R., P. Bourgeois, and J.Y. Péron. 1989. Etude des
conditions de la germination des semences de cerfeuil tubéreux
(Chaerophyllum bulbosum L.). Acta Hort. 242:239-247.
- Bois, D. 1927. Les plantes alimentaires chez tous les peuples et á
travers les âges. Phanérogames légumières, 1. Paul
- Imbault, N., C. Joseph, and J. Billot. 1985. Etude biochimique des
réserves de la racine de cerfeuil tubéreux (Chaerophyllum
bulbosum L.). Rapport du groupe de recherches sur le cerfeuil
tubéreux E.N.I.T.A.H. Angers.
- Péron, J.Y. 1989. Les potentialités d'élargissement de la
gamme des légumes dans la famille des Apiacées
(=Ombellifères): l'exemple du cerfeuil tubéreux (Chaerophyllum
bulbosum L.) et du chervis (Sium sisarum L.). Acta Hort.
*Program of tuberous-rooted chervil has been supported financially by the
French Ministry of Agriculture. The author is grateful of technical assistance
of Andrée Le Boulch in breeding studies.
Table 1. Carbohydrate development in the root of Chaerophyllum
bulbosum during storage.
zRoot weight class = 15-30 g.
| || ||Distribution of carbohydrate (% of total)|
|Storage temperature (analysis date) ||Total carbohydratez (mg/g dry wt) ||Reducing sugars ||Non-reducing sugars ||Starch|
|Initial (Nov. 20, 1984) ||435 ||2.3 ||64.9 ||32.8|
|Ambient (Jan. 11, 1985) ||497 ||5.5 ||72.4 ||20.1|
|4°C (Jan. 20, 1985) ||508 ||9.1 ||78.7 ||12.2|
Fig. 1. Germination of Chaerophyllum bulbosum seeds after
stratification at 4°C.
Fig. 2. Expression and exploitation of generic variability on the root
of Chaerophyllum bulbosum cultivated under plastic tunnel. (a) Wild
population. (b) 'Altan' a cultivar obtained by mass selection from a
population cultivated in France. (c) Genotype 11 (S2), bulbous root. (d)
Genotype 14 (S2), half-long root.
Last update September 4, 1997